75% of Taiwanese think Taiwan independent, 53% expect US protection

72% of respondents think most Taiwanese will fight if China invades

Tanks open fire during Han Kuang No. 22 Military Exercise in Yilan County in 2006. 

Tanks open fire during Han Kuang No. 22 Military Exercise in Yilan County in 2006.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — According to a new survey, Taiwanese are increasingly willing to defend their country if China invades and more now believe the U.S. will deploy troops if Taiwan is attacked.

Since 2002, the annual Taiwan National Security Survey (TNSS) has assessed Taiwanese attitudes toward the China threat and the U.S. security commitment to Taiwan, with the latest survey results released last month. The 2020 edition of the survey, which is sponsored by Duke University and conducted by National Chengchi University from Oct. 27-31, received 1,100 valid responses from Taiwanese adults.

When asked if Taiwan's military was capable of defending Taiwan on its own, 33 percent were in agreement this year, an increase of 12 percent from last year. In the event of Taiwan and China going to war, those who selected "willing to participate in the war" rose from 22 percent last year to 36 percent this year.

Those who chose "go with the flow" or failed to answer remained at 25 percent. Respondents who planned to surrender, escape, or give up dropped from 30 percent to 20 percent.

When asked if they felt that most Taiwanese would resist if there was a war between Taiwan and China, 72 percent said "yes," a significant increase of 10 percent from the previous year.

Given that adult males born since Jan. 1, 1983, only need to undergo four months of Army training, respondents were asked if they felt this period of military service was "too long, just right, or too short." In response, 75 percent said it was too short and only 2 percent thought it was too long.

In a 10 percent increase over last year, 56 percent of respondents now agree that Taiwan should strengthen cooperation with the U.S. and Japan as a "balance" against China. In the event that Taiwan declares de jure independence and China attacks, 53.2 percent believe the U.S. will deploy its military to protect Taiwan, an increase of nearly 5 percent over last year and a substantial increase from 40.5 percent in 2017.

When asked if a declaration of independence by Taiwan should be made if it would result in an attack by China, 51 percent opposed making such a declaration, a significant drop from 60 percent in 2019. In addition, for the first time, 47.5 percent now see Taiwanese independence as more likely than unification.

Only 1 percent support immediate unification with China, while over 60 percent oppose China's "one country, two systems" framework. At the same time, support for complete independence is still low at 6 percent, while those supporting the status quo indefinitely has increased from 24 percent to 31 percent.

However, when asked whether Taiwan was already an independent country called the "Republic of China," nearly 75 percent agreed.

Updated : 2021-01-26 19:30 GMT+08:00